Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is often referred to as a silent killer, and not without good reason. It sneaks up on you with symptoms that are hard to recognize, and before you know it, your natural teeth are at risk for needing to be extracted and your body is at higher risk for cardiac disease and stroke. Dr. Kong and the High Point team want you to be knowledgeable about what to look for so you’ll know when to call us for an appointment.
If you think you have symptoms of gum disease, call our office!
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease naturally progresses through stages, and if you know what to look for, you can recognize these different stages and catch the disease early enough for minimally invasive treatment. Our team is also trained to recognize the signs and begin treatment early.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. You might have heard the term before as it is the most common form of gum disease. In this stage, gums are red and swollen, causing them to bleed more easily. With proper attention and better at-home care, we can reverse the effects of gingivitis and get your gums back in shape.
If gingivitis continues, the gums begin to separate from the teeth and form spaces between the teeth and gums, known as pockets. These pockets become inflamed and infected. Over time and without treatment, the pockets will deepen, allowing more tissue and bone to be destroyed.
The final stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. In this stage, bone and gum loss are extensive, and teeth may become so loose that they may need to be extracted.
Development & Damage
Gum disease develops when the plaque that collects between the teeth and gums isn’t removed, both by proper at-home care and by routine dental visits. Plaque and tartar only build up in areas that aren’t visible, so your regular brushing routine isn’t enough to make sure that these areas are clean – you need to come in every six months for thorough cleanings.
As plaque and tartar build up, they irritate the surrounding gum tissue, causing it to become inflamed. You might notice that your gums bleed more when you brush or floss, or that your breath has become bad. Don’t push these symptoms aside – call us if these pop up out of nowhere! Many people ignore the signs, thinking they may have just brushed too hard or that bad breath is normal in the mornings. That’s why it is so easy to miss the signs of gum disease and why it’s called the silent killer.
Our oral health is a key part of our body’s overall health. Not only can gum disease lead to gum recession and tooth loss, but it is also strongly linked to heart disease and stroke. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of gum disease is a crucial part of taking care of your body.
Symptoms: What to Look Out For
- Red, swollen, sensitive, inflamed gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss, or when you chew hard food
- Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together
- Loose teeth
- Sores in mouth
- Constant metallic taste or bad breath
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it’s important that you call our office to schedule an appointment, so we can evaluate your gums and begin any necessary periodontal disease treatment.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
When you visit us, either for a routine appointment or because you’ve noticed signs of gum disease, and we find that you do have some stage of gum disease, we will do what we can to start treatment immediately. If we’re able to catch gingivitis early enough, we may be able to do a deep cleaning (known as a periodontal scaling and root planing), or even apply antibiotics, and stop the disease in its tracks. We might even be able to reverse the damage. More advanced periodontitis requires more extensive work to stop the disease. Using a soft tissue laser, we remove the diseased tissue to help restore your gums to health. Whatever stage of gum disease you have, it’s important to visit us so we can evaluate and decide on the best treatment course.